Artificial intelligence (AI) is on the priority list for any executive using technology to power their business. And today every company is a technology company. Despite the excitement surrounding AI and investments in its capabilities, only about a third of companies say they have adopted leading AI operational practices, but an increasing percentage are working toward that goal.
While AI is often seen as the golden ticket to bring business into the 21st century – and it can – to do so, the technology needs to be approached specifically and strategically, not as an all-in-one solution.
In the universe of technology, one can imagine a solar system of interdependent powers. At its core, cloud technology serves as the sun – a central energy source that fuels and enables other technologies. Underlying cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud, provide the foundation for other opportunities to thrive in the technology universe.
Rotating around cloud platforms, there are several AI planets in orbit that build on cloud infrastructure to deliver solutions such as automation, machine learning, robotic process automation, and more. Many business leaders are eager to enter the orbit of artificial intelligence solutions, but must first start building the necessary foundation for successful AI deployments.
Once the center of the AI solar system is in place, it’s important for business leaders to understand what they’re trying to solve to effectively unlock the power of AI. And while many vendors have powerful offerings, AI is not one-size-fits-all in its approach or implementation. Several capabilities and applications are needed to achieve true end-to-end AI results.
Ultimately, this ecosystem strategy can provide flexibility and stability to IT decision makers looking to leverage business data and achieve meaningful results for their organizations. The key to demonstrating the importance of AI ecosystems is discussing the current barriers a company is trying to overcome and what specific AI capabilities will solve for them.
The False Attraction of a One-Stop Shop for AI
Today, business leaders are trying to define the function of artificial intelligence in their organizations and how to implement AI effectively given their current technology stacks.
For example, a bank manager might try to automate some of his company’s digital banking capabilities. To get there, the institution needs to think about how they currently house their data, how that data will be processed and then refined for use, and finally, how the data can empower their staff and what insights will be most valuable to them.
In this case, an organization may need to consider combining the technology and environment they have with new technology and capabilities to achieve the desired outcome of a new automated banking tool. The allure of a one-stop shop for AI needs can drive companies to invest heavily in a single provider, which can create roadblocks on the road to a meaningful, AI-powered solution.
Part of the problem with seeing one vendor as a silver bullet solution is that companies can invest too heavily in a provider that won’t help them move the needle toward all of their specific AI targets. Given the hefty budgets that companies are developing for their IT departments, it is critical to understand that investing in the right solution(s) and that more money for a vague, generic “AI” does not always equate to unlocking of business success.
Anthony Ciarlo and Frank Farrell, Deloitte
Moreover, the overarching cloud environment in which an AI solution is deployed can make or break its success. This means IT decision makers need to have a clear understanding of their company’s technological solar system before deploying a new AI tool. When AI-related requests for proposals come across our agencies, our first goal is to work on the specific needs of the client’s organization and whether the resources they put behind the AI solutions will get them where they want to be.
From start to finish, it is difficult for a supplier to meet all of an organization’s AI needs. Some are leaders in automation, while others are leaders in data analytics or machine learning. By understanding these various strengths, Deloitte can provide meaningful, tailored assessments about which investments should be made.
As a systems integrator, once the Deloitte team has a holistic understanding of an organization’s pain points, it can make reliable recommendations about where to invest money and how companies can see the greatest return on investment from their technology budgets. The Deloitte team delivers confidence in integrating and navigating the solar system to deliver the desired results its customers and their customers need.
The ecosystem approach to AI solutions marks a major shift in how system integrators should approach their customer solutions. In the coming years, it is likely that there will be more collaboration between market providers, resulting in more streamlined, transparent AI implementation processes.
The main driver for this shift is ongoing conversations with business and technology leaders who understand that AI is not an isolated entity, but rather serves as a key component within a solar system of interconnected platforms and tools that can provide individualized solutions to business’ most pressing challenges. .
Anthony Ciarlo is a leader in strategy and analytics alliances and Frank Farrell is principal for cloud analytics and AI ecosystems at Deloitte.